NASA’s Eagle Eye Observatory has done it again. The James Webb Space Telescope He provided an image of the famous “pillars of formation” in infrared light, the sharpest and most detailed image of the stunning star-forming region ever seen.
The ethereal landscape is captured by bright spots of light penetrating transparent columns of cold interstellar gas and dust. Most of these are stars, and the red fireballs near the edges of the pillars are newly formed stars. According to NASA.
Don’t confuse it with the dark red, magma-like areas along the inner perimeter of some plumes. It’s caused by the turbulence of stars, which still create supersonic jets of material blasting off into space, where they collide with other objects. This is what cosmic chaos looks like in a nutshell.
Fortunately, these epic explosions and cosmic collisions are located 6,500 light-years away from Earth.
This region of the universe first gained notoriety in 1995 when it was imaged by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble conducted a follow-up campaign in 2014, and several other observatories have trained their lenses on the region within the Eagle Nebula.
Comparing the new image alongside Hubble’s view of the cosmic phenomenon reveals how Webb’s infrared instrument can look through the dust and gas curtains covering the scene.
NASA and astronomers around the world will search the web for images like these and more data to gain a better understanding of the star formation process.
For the rest of us, it’s just plain eye candy just in time for Halloween.
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